Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Fachrichtung 4.7 Universität des Saarlandes

Semantic Theory 2022

Lecturers:Noortje Venhuizen and Harm Brouwer
Location:Room -1.05 (C7.2, basement)
Time:Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10:15-11:45
(Note: the first lecture will take place online, through MS Teams)


Semantic Theory is a core course of the Master of Science programme in Language Science and Technology (LST), taught at the department of Language Science and Technology at Saarland University.

This course focuses on the theoretical study of natural language meaning, with explicit links to practical applications. The first part of the course introduces sentence-level (Montague) semantics: starting out from first-order predicate logic and moving to (typed) lambda calculus. In the second part of the course, we zoom in to the level of lexical semantics, in particular focusing on verbs (event semantics) and quantified noun phrases (generalized quantifiers). We then move to discourse-level semantics: based on the framework of Discourse Representation Theory, we study discourse-level phenomena such as anaphora and presupposition. The final part of the course is dedicated to recent advances in semantic theory: we discuss Distributional Formal Semantics, a formalism that extends formal semantics with a distributional component, providing compositional and probabilistic meaning representations that are also suitable for use in contemporary deep learning approaches.

Format and Requirements

See course conditions.


We will provide weekly additional reading material for each topic, which will be updated throughout the semester. Some important online resources:


6 CP